Matt Johnson Teases ‘Nirvanna the Band’ Movie: “It’s Not What People Think It’s Going to Be” | Exclaim!

Nearly a year after it was reported that Matt Johnson‘s next film will be based on Nirvanna the Band the Show — his web-turned-TV series with co-creator Jay McCarrol — the BlackBerry director has shed a bit more light on the forthcoming project.

A new interview with The Canadian Press finds Johnson sharing that one reason McCarrol (executive producer and music composer of BlackBerry) and himself created the acclaimed film was “to marshal political power to finish the [Nirvanna the Band the Show] because we just weren’t getting anywhere.”

Johnson and McCarrol’s Nirvanna the Band the Show was first produced as a web series before it was adapted into a full television production, airing on VICELAND in 2017 and 2018. Upon the station’s closure, Johnson shared that a third season of the show was in production, and clarified to The Canadian Press that “endless bureaucratic delays” have stalled it.

“And then as soon as [BlackBerry] premiered in Berlin,” Johnson recalled, “We realized, ‘Oh, we can make a Nirvanna the Band movie.'”

The director shared how they had previously approached Telefilm Canada — a Crown corporation supporting audiovisual productions in the country — about funding a Nirvanna the Band film in 2012, an effort that was unsuccessful. He explained that BlackBerry was made, then, “to try to forge a better relationship with the national financiers in the country.”

Johnson’s plan worked, and The Canadian Press now reports that Telefilm is funding a Nirvanna the Band movie the director says will be ready in early 2025. He shared with CP, “The people who like the show will really like the movie, because there’s lots of tricks in it, even in how we’ve been talking about it in the press. It’s not what people think that it’s going to be.”

The director added that the film will have the “exact same tone and approach as the show” but will incorporate “big action sequences,” noting that the year 2005 will play a significant role in its plot.

“People who’ve never seen the show before will be like, ‘Oh, wow, it’s a huge action movie.’ And for people who have been watching it since the web show, they’re going to be like, ‘I can’t believe that they did this.'”

Johnson also confirmed that the third season of Nirvanna the Band the Show will see release after the film comes out, and will be “connected” to the feature length production. You can read the complete Canadian Press report here.

Read Exclaim!’s review of BlackBerry. The film — which stars Johnson, Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Michael Ironside and more — was among Exclaim!’s Best Films of 2023, and leads the 2024 Canadian Screen Awards with 17 nominations including Best Picture and Best Direction.

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